Surveys and market research studies have found that an increasing number of consumers are seeking out sustainable and environmentally friendly food options. Some of the key factors driving this trend include concerns about the health and environmental impacts of conventional agriculture, a desire for transparency in the food production process, and a growing awareness of the role that consumers can play in promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Fruits and vegetables are one of the top categories in which consumers base their purchasing decisions on sustainability.
An obvious question here is often whether fruits and vegetables grown locally in the greenhouse are more sustainable than those flown in or driven from Spain or Morocco. The answer, as so often, is: it depends.
Greenhouse produce can be sustainable depending on different factors. Sustainable greenhouses aim to reduce waste, conserve resources, and maintain soil health through practices such as integrated pest management, water recycling, and using renewable energy sources. A greenhouse for tomatoes that uses oil for heating would have to burn 1 liter per square meter, depending on the area of cultivation. If we consider the area covered by greenhouses, this number quickly grows to a very large amount, resulting in a high emission of carbon dioxide. With renewable energy sources, this amount can be drastically reduced.
"Especially in our own shop and in contact with customers, we notice the high demand for regional and sustainable products," says Kevin van Ijperen, an authorized officer at Wittenberg Gemüse. The company has a total of around 40 hectares of greenhouses in Germany, where tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and strawberries are grown.
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